Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

AV Technology is the New Deal at Refurbished FDR Museum
Hyde Park, New York

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The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, has reopened after a three-year refurbishing of the building which FDR gave to the nation through the National Archives. Working under exhibit fabricator Explus, Electrosonic provided audio, video and multimedia programs, plus interactive touchscreen exhibits.

A large portrait of FDR, hung between a pair of 55-inch LCD screens showing film footage of the president, dominates the entrance to the museum. The first galleries set the scene of his presidency with an exhibit on the Great Depression and a theater presentation, “The World in Crisis.” The theater space is surrounded by a jagged collage of graphic images depicting the sufferings of the early 1930s. Newsreel footage documenting the economic crisis is displayed on a large screen by a video projector and accompanied by 5.1 surround sound.

FDR

“Promise of Change” includes an interactive display about the causes of the Depression; “Foundations of a Public Life,” features a 46-inch interactive touch table, which operates as a giant scrapbook. A 55-inch LCD describes the turning point in FDR’s life in the “Polio Theater” and how he was able to conceal his condition. A pair of exhibits demonstrates how FDR became the first president to understand the importance of radio communication with the nation. One recreates his Fireside Chat broadcasts with vignettes of a suburban kitchen and dining room.

Map Room 1

A major exhibit on the New Deal and FDR’s second term is followed by a view of his private study and a gallery devoted to World War II. The exhibit includes “FDR’s Secret Map Room” with image projections on the wall, plus three multi-user, multi-touch map tables. The basement presents the Oval Office desk and its collection of objects, interpreted by a touchscreen display.

Map Room 2

The “Legacy Theater” presents an assessment of FDR’s achievements. Additional theaters, which feature 55 or 70-inch LCD screens or projection systems, are scattered throughout the museum and address “The Enduring New Deal,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Newsreel” topics.

Theater

Electrosonic standardized the equipment as much as possible to promote easy operation and maintenance. A control room in the basement houses source equipment for the exhibits. All exhibit AV equipment is centrally controlled with a show control manager. Theater shows are started by proximity sensors, and docents can select individual exhibits via a tablet computer.

Lynn Bassanese, Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, commented, “The audio, video and multimedia programs and the innovative interactives in the new FDR Museum give our visitors a fresh insight into the lives and careers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. They truly help us bring the new deal to a new generation.”

The museum displays were designed by Gallagher & Associates. AV content was created by Cortina Productions with linear AV content by Monadnock Media. David Rome was the AV consultant.

FDR